The House

For my recut trailer, I transformed Step Brothers from a comedy into a horror film about two friends becoming possessed called The House. In my recut, I sequenced the shots in a way that presents Brennan and Dale as best friends in the beginning of the movie, but when they move into a new house they become possessed and try to kill each other. Other than the shots I used, the music was the other most important aspect of changing the genre of the film. The dark, creepy music I added in was a symbolic signifier that the genre of the movie was a horror film. According to Danesi, this type of signifier’s meaning is “established by social convention or through the channel of historical tradition”(Danesi, 13). Thus, I was able to use the dark music to immediately signify to the audience that the film was going to be a horror, as we have been conditioned to associate this type of music with horror films. Finally, to end my trailer , I used a shot of the hands popping out of the ground, coupled with a loud, ominous sound, to create the “wow” effect in my recut (Kaufman, 5).

This only seems scary with music.

In my trailer recut, the trailer that I found to be the most effective for the last blog posting, Prometheus, was also the main inspiration for my trailer. In fact, some of the sounds I used in my trailer recut are taken from the Prometheus soundtrack. Although it is a different genre than my recut, I tried to apply a similar approach by showing important clips without laying out the entire plot of the movie. As Gilbey says in “Trailer Trash,” often times films are spoiled by their trailers; I wanted to convey the genre of the film while still leaving some ambiguity and questions in the viewers’ mind (Gilbey, 1). Ideally, this would leave surprises for the movie rather than the viewer already seeing the most important parts in the trailer.

In addition to the decision to follow this format for my trailer, I also found it helpful to scroll through the movie without any sound; this helped me to imagine how certain shots could be portrayed if they were paired with different sounds or music. What I found after doing this was that I was able to use the Kuleshov effect to create several creepy scenes that had actually been comical in the original film.

As I learned from analyzing trailers for the last blog assignment, trailers usually use a set of fast cuts in order to fit the main concept of a two hour movie into a two minute trailer, and I found this necessary as well. Many of my cuts from shot to shot were “straight cuts” where one shot instantaneously replaces the other. However, according to Dick, “the best filmmakers vary, speed, movement, and pace”(Dick, 21). In order to adhere to this, I also used transitions and slower cuts in order to slow the pace of the trailer at certain points, and then speed it back up with fast, straight, cuts. In addition to changing the sequence of the shots as they were originally presented in Step Brothers, I also used an elliptical sequence by omitting certain details in the trailer. This is partly due to the fact that the trailer was so short, as it would have been impossible to use a purely linear sequence. However, the elliptical sequence also allowed me to create an aspect mystery and surprise as I mentioned early, which forces the viewer to make connections for themselves (Dick, 13).

While creating my trailer recut, I only ran into a couple of minor issues. The first of these was just the fact that Handbrake took over an hour to completely rip my DVD. If I were to do the project again, I would probably select my scenes beforehand and then rip individual chapters in order to save some time. The other problem that I encountered was that after my DVD had been ripped, the video and audio were not synchronized. It took a little bit of time to fix this, but what I ended up doing was unlinking the video and audio and moving the audio around until it was synchronized with the video. Finally, I had a hard time selecting what fonts and designs to use for my title screens. While I tried to limit the use of them in general, I needed a few instances of typography in order to successfully change the genre of my trailer. Although I was not completely satisfied with the design I chose, I did not find any other ones that I liked better. This is where I think more experience with Adobe Premiere could have helped me edit my trailer more effectively.

References:

Bernard Dick (2002). “Film, space, and image,” excerpt from Anatomy of Film. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s.

Frederick Kaufman (2005). “Debbie does salad: The Food Network at the frontiers of pornography,” Harper’s Magazine, October.

Marcel Danesi (2004). “Semiotics,” excerpt from Messages, signs, and meanings: A basic textbook in semiotics and communication. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Ryan Gilbey (2006). “Trailer Trash,” Newstatesman, March.

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